Mate is a plant from South America. Strictly speaking, we don't drink mate tea, but rather a mate infusion. It is considered the national drink of the continent and has now become popular in different variations in our country as well. Drinking mate tea is thirst-quenching and refreshing and is often celebrated as a ritual.
We tell you what you need to know about mate tea and what you certainly didn't know.
The cultivation of mate bushes is in the blood of South Americans. Revered as a drink of the gods, the holly was already made into a drink by the indigenous people - the Guaraní. Today, the bush often grows wild or is cultivated on plantations. When a new mate bush is planted, it takes four years until the first harvest. In the meantime, it has to be cut back and protected from strong sunlight, especially in the beginning. After the green leaves have been picked, they are dried and then crushed.
The mate tea is actually called yerba mate. The term mate comes from the old Quechua word mati and refers in a narrower sense to the drinking vessel. South Americans drink mate tea from a gourd-like cup. The calabash is traditionally made of pumpkin, but today the vessels are also made of ceramic, porcelain, wood or even silicone. To prevent the bitter and firm leaves from getting into the mouth, a bombilla ensures crumb-free drinking enjoyment.
The most important things you need for drinking mate tea are:
For a mate tea, fill the vessel up to ¾ full with dried leaves. Put the bombilla in and pour the water. Do not stir the infusion so that the leaves settle to the bottom of the calabash. Usually mate tea is drunk hot, the cold version is called tereré.
For newcomers among mate fans, the first infusion can taste extremely bitter. No problem, just tip it away and pour the water again. This way, the yerba mate loses some of the bitter substances and the second attempt will be better. Promise!
What morning coffee is in our latitudes, mate tea means to the South Americans. The leaves have a caffeine content of between 0.35 and 1.7 %, which puts the infusion between the milder green tea and coffee. It is said to have a stimulating effect, but this is certainly different for each person. After all, not every coffee drinker is wide awake after a cup of coffee.
It is undisputed, however, that mate tea can do a lot for your well-being.
Many South Americans don't even leave the house without their calabash. Whether on a walk, in the office or during the lunch break - the tart tea is a must. In some countries, there are even thermos flasks in public places to ensure that there is always a supply.
Mate tea is particularly good to enjoy in a large group. After work is done, families and friends get together to talk about the day or make plans. Mate tea represents a special connection to each other and takes a firm place in the togetherness.
Every host openly shows his appreciation when he dares to drink the first infusion himself. What is considered rude in our country is a sign of friendship in this drinking ritual. The first bitter mate tea is not offered to the guests. Instead, another infusion is prepared and passed around to those present. These show their bond by not using their own bombilla, but the whole group uses a calabash and drinking tube.
While the hot drink is now also taking Europe by storm, mate has, however, been on German supermarket shelves for some time. Especially as lemonade in various flavours, mate is part of our typical cityscape. But that has little to do with how South Americans drink their mate tea. Here you should avoid a few mistakes - especially for larger rounds.
Meanwhile, celebrities also swear by mate tea. Footballers like Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and superstar Gisele Bündchen are avowed mate fans. We have a few more reasons why you shouldn't miss out on this treat:
Is your curiosity about the new trendy drink piqued? If you would also like to drink mate tea, then feel free to take a look at our online shop.
Here you will find a wide range of different teas from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay or Paraguay. To match, we offer you lots of mate accessories. Discover calabashes that are excellently crafted and convince with a very pretty look. Whether gourd, wood, ceramic, stainless steel or silicone - there is the right model for every tea drinker.
If you don't just want to enjoy the infusion, there is a wide range of South American specialities to choose from. Whether sweet or savoury - with us, every palate gets its desired taste.